While world leaders grapple with the current economic crisis, another even more frightening disaster is clamoring for their attention. Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor of the UK Independent, warns that humanity is facing a disastrous “water bankruptcy,” which is already beginning to take effect.
Lean quotes two international reports that predict half the world’s population will be affected by water shortages within 20 years, “with millions dying and increasing conflicts over dwindling resources.” Some 60 per cent of China’s 669 cities are already short of water, Lean notes.”The huge Yellow River is now left with only 10 per cent of its natural flow, sometimes failing to reach the sea altogether. And the glaciers of the Himalayas, which act as gigantic water banks supplying two billion people in Asia, are melting ever faster as global warming accelerates. Meanwhile devastating droughts are crippling Australia and Texas.”
He could have added Florida to the list of drought-stricken places. Here in Lakeland, half way between Orlando and Tampa, we haven’t seen a drop of rain in more than a month. The grass is gray, the undergrowth is brown, the topsoil is blowing away. And this is just the most recent evidence of climate change. A few weeks ago the temperature sank to 28 degrees, devastating my fruit trees and garden. It will take months for the shurbbery to recover – if it recovers.
It was a harsh reminder of mankind’s neglect of the tiny planet we inhabit. And yet there are still those who scoff at reports of climate change and the horrors it will inflict on us – unless dramatic action is taken to end our abusive habits. Opponents of legislation designed to address climate change spent $450 million on lobbying and political contributions in 2008. Unless the rest of us make a resolute effort to oppose these diabolical polluters, they could block urgently needed environmental laws – with catastrophic results.
In an increasingly overcrowded world, immediate and dramatic measures must be initiated to husband and replenish our scarce resources, preserve our shared atmosphere and devise creative solutions to the problems that threaten our precious environment.